Top 4 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease
Dr. Saji Philip
GOD CREATED OUR HEALTH
The One who created the heavens created earth and formed it to be inhabited. (Isa. 45:18)
God created us intending for us to lead healthy lives as we live on this planet”.
“The people I formed for myself that they shall declare my praise”. (Isa. 43:21) The purpose of our creation is to praise him, because he has provided us with best of health.
“For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb”. (Psa. 139:13)
A protein called laminin is a structure that binds our cells to each other including our skin, organs etc. Looking at this under an electron microscopy it appears to be like a cross. It appears like a cross stitch done on a cloth by our sisters – that’s how God has knit us together.
From a distance cross stitch embroidery looks beautiful - almost like scenery, but when we look closely we can see many small crosses together. When I was doing my specialty course in Pediatric Cardiology at the National University Hospital, Taipei, I met a Buddhist family in Taiwan. Their little son, four years old, had developed heart attack twice due to Kawasaki disease. I was able to share the Gospel with them. This child underwent bypass surgery at that tender age of 4! Later, heart transplantations were performed since a bypass surgery was not successful. Finally this little child expired after 20 days of hospital stay.
I attended the funeral service, carrying with me a beautiful big picture of their son, which I had taken during his hospital stay. After the funeral I prayed with and for them, mentioning to the parents that, God will bless them with another child soon to forget this reproach.
A year later they invited me to visit their home. The mother handed over a beautiful boy child to me and asked me to pray for her son. We praised God when I saw in this child so much resemblance to the lost child. Amazing, how at times our God can create siblings with so much similarity. Even to resemble those we have lost in death! Finally, when I left Taiwan, this family came to see me off at the airport and gifted me a beautiful and large sized scenery that was cross stitched. The man told me that his wife spent 3 years to finish that work.
I narrate this story to highlight how we are created by God, as He knits us together like a cross stitch with different kinds of proteins that bind together.
We have been so beautifully created with a divine purpose – hence, we have a responsibility to keep our body, mind and spirit in the best of health and holy at all times.
The Bible teaches us that our body is the temple of God (1 Cor. 20:6).
Since I practice fetal Cardiology, we notice that the pulsation of the heart starts only by the 3rd week of gestation. How does circulation happen until then? The holy Bible in Psalms 139:16 reads thus: “ Your eyes saw me my unformed body/ substance. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
That is why Psalmist says 139: 14 I will praise my God because you made me fearfully and wonderfully
FOUR WAYS TO KEEP YOUR HEALTH
1. Follow a healthy diet
2. Exercise regularly
3. Maintain a healthy life style
4. Regular Physical check up
1. Follow a healthy Diet
Following a few simple rules as laid out in our healthy heart diet section can significantly decrease your chances of developing heart disease.
A brief summary follows:
a. Limit intake of transfats and hydrogenated oils found in margarine, fast food, fried food, etc.
b. Limit refined sugar intake from cakes, cookies, candy, etc.
c. Use bran oil in combination with sunflower oil or use of garlic also can lower cholesterol.
d. Add Omega 3 fatty acids to your diet – the best source is fish oil.
e. Taking plenty of fruits that contain antioxidants - prevents damage of the inner layer of the arteries.
f. Oats is a good meal. You may mix with dry fruits/ nuts/ flax seed powder to reduce your cholesterol.
g. A traditional Kerala menu like “elayappam, kozhikatta” (steamed rice balls or pancakes with a filling of grated coconut and jaggery) is wholesome and contains lot of iron, and good for children.
h. Green tea is ideal, instead of plain water. You may drink at least 1 liter per day. It can prevent diabetes and also reduces cholesterol.
i. Eat more vegetables than you do rice.
j. Reduce red meats (beef, buffalo, sheep etc). White meat like chicken, rabbit is less harmful.
k. Use whole grain wheat powder with bran or even multi grain for chappathis.
l. Tea is better than coffee for your heart.
2. Exercise Regularly
Developing a steady exercise program can also lower your risk of heart disease. A few quick tips:
a. Try to exercise 3 - 4 times per week, for least a half-an hour each time. (badminton, basket ball or other sports)
b. Always stretch before and after exercising or jogging.
c. Keep yourself hydrated with sufficient water.
3.Lead a Healthy Life Style
In addition to following a healthy diet and exercise regimen, you should also try to do the following:
a. Stop smoking and avoid second hand smoke- both of which are major cause of heart disease. Now Nicotine chewing gum is available in the pharmacy. Chewing this gum for 1-2 months will help smokers quit their habit. This can be shared in public and gospel meetings.
b. Avoid alcohol – it can deplete your body’s supply of vitamins and other nutrients.
c. Try to reduce stress and anxiety – they can lead to high blood pressure and other unwanted health conditions. Drawing, stitching embroidery, reading, meditating scriptures from the Bible, praying, singing, playing musical instruments / using your talents regularly, can help you relax your mind and reduce your tension and stress.
d. Saying, “God bless you brother/ sister” and meaning it sincerely can help rid yourself of negative thoughts like jealousy towards others. Never must we be jealous about other’s achievements. Remember God has given different talents to all and it is our duty to build it up and encourage it in others.
Keep Tabs on the Blood of Developing Heart Disease
Make sure you get tested for increased cholesterol, triglycerides (fat), homocysteine and C Reactive Protein levels, and follow the protocols if any one of these indicators is elevated.
a. If your cholesterol is high , you can lower cholesterol naturally with herbal extracts, curry leaf as well as fish oil,/ Remember, only 20 % of your cholesterol comes from what you eat, the other 80 % is manufactured by your liver.
b. If your triglyceride (fat) levels are too high, lower you carbohydrate and sugar intake. Also, fish oil, Vitamin C, guggulipid, and green tea are safe natural ways to lower triglyceride levels.
c. If your homocysteine levels are high, you can easily normalize it by including Vitamins B6 and vitamin B12
d. If your C Reactive protein levels are high, this indicates inflamation in the blood. Fish oil, ginger, and MSM will help to decrease inflammation naturally.
4. Regular Health (Master)
A regular Master check up is important once you cross 40-43 years of age, like servicing your house hold items regularly. Almost all cardiac centers have a good check up master program.
85% of patients suffering heart attacks have at least one classic risk factor. Half of the heart attack patients do not have high LDL. A surprising and tragic number of people die never knowing that they had heart disease.
STEPS TO STOP HEART ATTACK
To know your enemies
Studies among people showed that heart attacks and death mainly occur under the following classic risk factors
b. Blood pressure
c. High cholesterol
Hence people may raise a question, is there any test to detect cardiac disease. The answer is yes, there is a test available to measure the inflammation of coronary artery called “HIGH SENSITIVE C-REACTIVE PROTIEN” ( hsCRP).
Normal values on few Lab parameters
CRP Very High Risk >10mg/L
Hs CRP Low Risk <1mg/L
Average Risk 1-3mg/L
High Risk >3mg/L
1. Fasting Blood sugar should be <110mg/dl
2. High triglycerides can be treated by Niacin
3. Homocysteine >10-12 micro molar can be treated with Folate, B6, B 12
What is Metabolic syndrome?
3 of 5 following features to make Metabolic Syndrome
1. Overweight (Waist M-40” F-50”)
2. Elevated Triglycerides (>150mg)
3. Low HDL (<40 in Men <50 in women)
4. High BP (>130/85)
5. Increase in FBS >110mg/dl
Know your warning signs
Whenever you have a severe chest pain, sweating, or radiation of pain to the limbs, neck, teeth area etc you advised to go hospital. It is good to write down your nearest ambulance service number/ personal doctor’s number etc near your telephone or on your mobile.
The following medicines to be given under supervision of your doctor after proving heart attack. But there is no harm in taking Nitroglycerine tablets.
1. Nitroglycerin (upto 3 tab)
2. Morphine in ambulance
3. Aspirin with Clopidogrel as early
6. Glycoprotein IIB/IIIA may be helpful in suspect case
7. Tissue plasminogen activator TPA is 10% better than streptokinase
Health Tips for pastors and friends for better health:
1. If someone serves unhealthy, oily food – please avoid it. It’s bad and dangerous for your health.
2. Avoid too much tea or coffee. Try to get used to green tea.
3. During your house visits you can request for a glass of hot water or black tea.
4. If you have crossed middle age, better avoid fatty foods like oily rice, biriyani, red meats, ice cream etc.
5. You need to exercise at least 3 times, half an hour a week. Play with your children so that you will get enough time to talk with them.
6. Your children also need sports.
7. Get your children also used to healthy food. Your child need regular vitamin A, D, de-worming medication every 6 months. All children must be vaccinated.